Mutoid Man
Mutants


3.2
good

Review

by figurehead of "built different" EMERITUS
August 2nd, 2023 | 52 replies


Release Date: 07/28/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mutating without evolving

Mutoid Man’s initial pitch was a simple one: seasoned pros playing high-energy, smart-dumb-fun camp. Since their debut a full decade ago, they've seemingly become something of a repository for all the ideas Cave in and Converge have gotten too "mature" to effectively work with: bouncy hardcore beats, flashy major-key guitar shred, BIG shout-along choruses, and overall senses of carefree, sci-fi-infused zaniness. From the minds that brought you classics like Jane Doe and Until Your Heart Stops, they’re a spectacle of pre-Nevermind heavy rock showmanship injected with a super-serum of modern metal and punk— wow! From their 2013 EP Helium Head through 2017's War Moans, Mutoid man owned their status as a zany lark so hard they damn near transcended it. Alas, perhaps the increased turbulence of post-COVID life pulls a price from us all, affable metalcore stalwarts included. Though the trio's third album Mutants puts up an admirable effort to continue in the straightforwardly pleasurable footsteps of their previous work, it's not just their hit-to-miss ratio that's shakier than ever, but their implicit promise that you would never have to think too hard about 'em.

First, the hits! If you're just here for Ben Koller drumming and/or for Steve Brodsky riffing, good news! Mutants is composed of exactly these two things! The dudes can fuckin' play, and with High on Fire's Jeff Matz replacing Nick Cageao on bass, the band's considerable assets are, in many ways, much the same as ever. They haven't forgotten their tried-and-true theatrics, either: dig that meaty chuggachuggaBAM, BAM that sees off each chorus on opener and lead single "Call of the Void", or the gnarled solo Brodsky delivers on the VERY SAME SONG. Alternately, peep "Siren Song"'s chunky stoner-metal groove leaving ample room for Koller's fills, in a similar vein to Bleeder's almighty "Bridgeburner". Best of all, the tongues-agog atomic punk of "Graveyard Love" proves the band's most gloriously ridiculous slab of innuendo yet, Brodsky once again proving he has some of the keenest performing instincts of any rock frontman working today, and giving Matz's Lemmy-esque low end a nice spotlight to boot. The album's oh-so-gentle lean in an overall less irreverent lyrical direction isn't entirely without its dividends, either: the aforementioned "Call of the Void" puts its energy to great use for an impassioned tirade against nihilism, and closer "Setting Son" enervates similarly with the undercurrent of joie de vivre that has so often set Mutoid Man apart within their family of bands. In isolated moments, this album finds them at their very best: muscular, melodic and massively entertaining.

Outside of these isolated moments… well. Koller's fiddlier math-metal side has never quite been my cuppa, and with Brodsky clearly a bit nostalgic for his throat-shredding 90s salad days, even otherwise-solid rockers like "Demons" wind up more prone than usual to distracted time-signature tomfoolery. Hook-free chugfests like "Unborn" certainly take up a few too many spots in the tracklist too, in lieu of more colorful pastiche exploration a la "Bandages" (I can't blame Matz with any confidence; a few riffs here do have the barest tinge of "Electric Messiah b-side"). I'm ultimately willing to chalk these up to differences of taste; plenty of folks love midtempo chugs and don't want any ballads, and bless their FROZEN hearts for it! Less easy to forgive: "Broken Glass Ceiling"'s eye-rollingly misguided grapple with patriarchal privilege, the vagueposting Orwell references of "Memory Hole", and the implications both of these pick up in light of recent, shall we say, shake-ups at the band's Sargent House label (Google is thattaway). The optics there are fraught as all get-out, and though a good-faith reading reveals good intentions, if not much poetry, the subject matter itself feels far too weighty for Mutoid Man's brand of Saturday-morning-cartoon metalcore. That godawful "FUCKING WEATHER" try for levity on "Broken Glass Ceiling" only speaks to how poorly-suited the band is to such commentary (and to just how good that main riff would probably be in a better song, dangit).

In the event that I'm just reading way too far into things here, hey, maybe I wouldn't have if Brodsky had just written more dumb lyrics about being a lizard-person or having sex with hellspawn! That's all I want from Mutoid Man: catchy, gonzo hard rock that can laugh at itself and still kick some authentic ass. It goes to show how fun and appealing the band's core sound is that Mutants is the first time Mutoid Man has really felt like a side project, laden with not-quite-theres and exercises reliant on the members' most familiar pockets at the expense of unique flavor and fresh stylistic blood. I can only hope that future releases find the band once more venturing across the wide wide world of loud, exciting guitar music (as they've done with such good humor on Two Minutes to Late Night), and if not, sheesh, I hope they at least have the sense to K.I.S.S.




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user ratings (105)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kompys2000
Emeritus
August 2nd 2023


9471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

best tracks: Graveyard Love, Call of the Void



rock is back and so are we

Kompys2000
Emeritus
August 2nd 2023


9471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

oh also big big ups to asleep for editing, u da bomb

Ecnalzen
August 2nd 2023


12163 Comments


Been jammin this today. Seems more of the same from War Moans but still a good time

Ecnalzen
August 2nd 2023


12163 Comments


"It goes to show how fun and appealing the band's core sound is that [i]Mutants[i]/ is the first time Mutoid Man has really felt like a side project, laden with not-quite-theres and exercises reliant on the members' most familiar pockets at the expense of unique flavor and fresh stylistic blood."

aw jeez, missed the proper forward slash location on your italics

Kompys2000
Emeritus
August 2nd 2023


9471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Oh shit fixing now lol ty

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2023


10274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yasss great write up hugs. I have a softer spot for this than I think you do, but agreed with basically all of your criticisms. This could have been better sad face.

Kompys2000
Emeritus
August 2nd 2023


9471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Hugs!!! I was tempted towards a mercy 3.5 just because this really is worth it just for graveyard love and to lesser extents call of the void/setting son/siren song. But I am high-key too sourpuss for this FUCKING WEATHER rn and after seeing how much range they have on 2M2LN it's just like whyyyy so many chugs

pourradass
August 2nd 2023


620 Comments


I am listening to this for the first time right now and couldn't help but smile after reading your review when my highlight so far is Unborn (and Siphon).

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2023


10274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank god Bleeder is still a front to back slapper ageing surprisingly well

Pajolero
August 2nd 2023


1440 Comments


Not their best by any means, but still a fun listen.

bloc
August 2nd 2023


70370 Comments


Not really into these guys, but kinda thought this is their best album

Relinquished
August 2nd 2023


48798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dig them. Brodsky still has it. Graveyard Love reminds me too much of Date With the Devil from War Moans though, lyrically.

Calc
August 2nd 2023


17366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

demons riffz so fuking hard ugh..

MeatSalad
August 2nd 2023


18637 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Fun album, and that's ultimately all it needed to be

XingKing
August 2nd 2023


16169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This has always been my favorite Brodsky project but there is something really copy-paste about this album

chemicalmarriage
August 2nd 2023


4320 Comments


Yep fun record good times

Hawks
August 2nd 2023


89540 Comments


Mutoid Men

Kompys2000
Emeritus
August 2nd 2023


9471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

@relinquished Date With the Devil is hilarious and I will not hear a word against it



@xing agreed to the last

BaselineOOO
August 2nd 2023


2583 Comments


This has literally the same album cover as Astrix - He.art

chronoclast
August 2nd 2023


49 Comments


This is their most diverse, which is why I appreciate it.



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